In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Parliamentary Interns

Posted 6/8/2009 by Senator Grant Mitchell


Thirty-five years ago I was a Parliamentary Intern for a year. This is a program that still exists today where ten university graduates a year are chosen to work in Parliament. We worked half the year on each side of the House and we travelled to London, Paris, Washington, Toronto and Quebec City as guests of these respective governments to study their legislatures. I asked to worked with two Francophone MPs, Liberal Eymard Corbin and Creditiste André Fortin, so that I could learn French.

It was a wonderful experience with a wonderful group of interns. We organized meetings with every person on interest and significance who would meet with us. My most memorable meeting was lunch for the ten of us at 24 Sussex Drive with Mr. Trudeau. I will never forget it, his incredible mind and surprising shyness. He focused on our ideas and questions all while eating his blueberries with his fingers.

Last weekend, nine of the ten interns from our year had a reunion after thirty-five years. One intern has spent the past thirty-five years studying, writing and teaching at Harvard; another has had a very successful business career; one was a founding member of LEAF; another has lived and travelled all over the world with international trade responsibilities; one is a law professor. A very successful lawyer, who is also a key political organizer and a senior public servant who worked in official languages policy across Canada rounded the group out. It was so much fun to catch up and talk about issues as we used to do. Thirty-five years may have changed a lot but it hasn’t changed the enjoyment we get from engaging with interesting ideas and questions.

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